Archive for politicizing

VIDEO-- Arianna Huffington: Karl Rove is the "Michael Jordan of politicizing the executive branch"



My frustration with the Sunday political talk shows is through the roof. The guests rarely, if ever, include Progressives, and if they do, they are outnumbered by ConservaDems, conservative Republicans, or "moderates," so their voices are minimized, if not ignored completely (scroll).

That said, there are moments of truth and even levity that make their way into what passes for "debate."

Arianna Huffington:

"There's certainly an irony in having Karl, who is the Michael Jordan of politicizing the executive branch. You know let's go back to the firing of nine attorney generals during the Bush years, now being outraged... U.S. Attorneys, sorry..."

Here is some context, via the ABC transcript:

STEPHANOPOULOS: There's some question about whether Fox News, I think Karl Rove, actually got the subpoena or not. The Justice Department has a record of it being sent. Fox News said...


ROVE: Well let's be clear though. The -- Paul is referring to 9-13.400. These are the guidelines from the Department of Justice itself. It says, "The Department attorneys should take all reasonable steps to attempt to obtain the information through alternative sources, or means. They must first attempt negotiations with the media, aimed at accommodating the interests of the trial of grand jury with the interests of the media", they made no such attempt. "They must also precede any requests to subpoena the telephone toll records by having negotiations with the affected media", none of which they did.

These are the guidelines with the -- which the attorney general himself is responsible for...


ROVE: Well, look yes. I -- I do think so. He's got two problems. One problem is, when he signed the Rose affidavit, he did not abide by his own guidelines. Second, the defense they're offering for it, which was offered by Jay Carney that we're, conflating a subpoena with a prosecution means that what they said -- this was, remember of a criminal conspiracy when they sought the subpoena from the third judge they attempted to get it from, and finally got it from, was not where they didn't really intend ever to prosecute him.

So they were lying to the judge. And then the third one is -- the third problem he has is, on the 15th of May, he says before the House of Representatives under oath, in front of the Judiciary Committee, this is something I'd never contemplate. And on the 17th we learned that he did the Rosen -- the -- the Rosen...

PLOUFFE: I don't think he should go over this. I think if anything, he's guilty of over-zealously trying to uphold the law. And I think we all -- I think this is going to be a helpful process, which is how do we balance in -- in 2013, some of these guidelines go back to 1980 before the internet and email. How do we balance the need to protect national security and secrets, and our interests with the public's right to know, and investigative journalism? I do find out curious that the loudest Republican voice is now calling for the attorney general to go.

Were the same ones a year ago saying, we weren't investigating leaks strongly enough. They wanted a special prosecutor, because they said U.S. attorneys would not be tough enough. And so I think their objections lay less in the principle and substance of this, than almost a Pavlovian response. That if they have an opportunity to take political shots at the administration and the president, they'll...


HUFFINGTON: There's certainly an irony in having Karl, who is the Michael Jordan of politicizing the executive branch. You know let's go back to the firing of nine attorney generals during the Bush years, now being outraged... U.S. Attorneys, sorry...


HUFFINGTON: You know, I agree with you that Holder has to go. But there is a certain irony in the Republican doing...

Here is the entire segment and more:


"I'm not into politics," said partisan Justice Thomas; black president would be "approved by elites, media."


join court but i hate politics

When I saw this article at First Read, I had to make sure it wasn't a reprint of a piece from The Onion. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas says he's "not into politics." Could've fooled me. He's married to Virginia, founder-of-a-tea-party group-turned-lobbyist who bragged about all the influence she had (who also left a rather strange voice mail for Anita Hill), and who lobbied against health care reform.

This is the same justice who Herman Cain said “is one of my models.”

So fine, Thomas-- who ruled in favor of Citizens United-- claims he isn't literally "into" politics, but he also isn't exactly unbiased, objective, or even-handed, let alone nonpartisan:

As Mark Karlin at BuzzFlash pointed out, "Thomas... didn’t even report large financial payments that benefited him and his wife, as he ruled on cases that involved the sources of the personal funds."

And of course, there was the Clarence Thomas gifting scandal:

There have been alarming reports of justices – most notably Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito – attending political events and using their position to fundraise for organizations.

You get the picture. Now here is what Clarence Thomas said during a forum at Duquesne University's law school in response to a moderator's question of whether he was surprised that there was a black president. Per First Read:

[H]e is not surprised there's a black president. But he knew that it would be one "approved by the elites, the media." "I guess I thought there would be black coaches, black heads of universities, maybe again, as I said, I'm naïve. But the thing I always knew it would have to be a black president who was approved by the elites, the media, because anybody they didn't agree with they would take apart.... And that will happen with virtually-- you pick your person. Any black person, who says something that is not a prescribed things that they expect from a black person, it will be picked apart. You can pick anybody. Don't pick me. Pick anyone who has decided not to go along with it. There's a price to pay. So I always assumed it would be somebody the media had to agree with." [...]

Asked if he had any "common ground" with the left-of-center president, the conservative jurist, said, "You know that's hard to say. It's like, what common ground did I have with President Bush? 43? You know, I'm not into politics. I don't like politics. And I try not to-- I do my job. I have common ground with some of the appointees, say with Justice Ginsburg or with Justice Kagan, because we're doing the same thing, but as politics, I just don't do politics. I don't like politics."

Go that? He doesn't like politics.

To be crystal clear, he just doesn't do politics.

Did I mention he doesn't like politics?

He added:

"I just don't like politics... I mean, it is--, I'm just done. I don't like politics. I like history. I like things of substance. I don't understand politics. I don't understand scuba diving, you know? When I think of scuba diving, I think of drowning. So I'm not against it, it's just not-- I'm not going under water."

In case you missed it, he "hates politics." That might have gotten by you.

hate politics, hate people


GOP Senate aide: "Opposing Susan Rice is a way to score points, even though it's a sideshow."


the truth comes out

Doyle McManus has an op-ed in today's L.A. Times about Susan Rice being targeted by Republicans until she felt she was becoming a distraction and withdrew her name from consideration to be the next Secretary of State. She didn't want time and energy to be spent on a bitter confirmation battle at the expense of other priorities on the president's agenda, like immigration reform.

He goes on in some detail about John McCain's role, the Benghazi excuse, and more, but this is the part that caught my eye:

A Republican Senate aide spelled out the situation for me more clearly, on condition he not be identified. "Voting for higher taxes is a tough vote," he said. "Opposing Susan Rice is a way to score points, even though it's a sideshow."

And there you have it. A moment of truth and repugnance all rolled into one big,  shameless, politicizing, obstructionist Ball of GOP.


VIDEO-- Rudy Giuliani: Romney "should be exploiting" Libya tragedy for political gain


Mitt Romney and his GOP gang have been going after President Obama for not providing enough security in Libya, and now Rudy Giuliani is accusing the administration of intentionally delaying investigations until the election is over, trying to "run out the clock" and “cover up."

Christopher Stevens’ dad has said that the Libyan ambassador’s death should not be politicized. But that won't stop Republicans from using the Benghazi attack for political gain, exploiting the tragic deaths in order to get a few more votes.

If President Obama and his surrogates pulled something as shameless as this, imagine the 24/7 outcry.

Here's what Rudy Giuliani said on CNN, via Think Progress:

Rudy's sensitive little feathers got ruffled and he accused Soledad O'Brien of being biased toward Democrats when she tried to get him to back up his accusations. How dare she?!


"The one thing I’m debating with you is just specifics. When you quote someone or you paraphrase them the only thing I ask is that you get that accurate. That’s all I ask..."


"We’re also entitled to interpret what the president is saying without this, like, massive defense of everything he says."

"Excuse me if being the fact that I’m a Republican, I don’t give them as you do, all the benefit of the doubt."

And here's what Rudy said on Fox:


Bill Hemmer:

"David Axelrod made the claim Mitt Romney is doing his best to exploit this. Is there argument to be made there? How was this handled on Tuesday night?"


"Well he should be exploiting it. I mean, the fact is, there is real chance, there is a cover-up here."

Here's what Joe Biden said about Rudy Giuliani repeatedly politicizing terrorist acts back in 2007:

Keep the truth and those smiles coming, Joe.


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Christopher Stevens' dad: Libyan ambassador’s death should not be politicized


Mitt Romney and his gang have been going after President Obama for not providing enough security in Libya, trying to gin up anger at the administration to swing a few more votes their way.

Howard Dean assured MSNBC viewers that the Obama administration has been completely honest about Benghazi (he talked to officials "very high up"), and came down hard on Republicans who are using the attack for political gain.

"I am sick of Republicans trying to second guess the president of the United States!" said Dean emphatically to Alex Witt and former RNC chair Michael Steele just now, reminding everyone that when Bush was in office, criticism of President Mission Accomplished was verboten. Howard Dean called Obama's critics "congressional hacks." Gee, ya think?

Team Romney playing politics? Oh come now. When has Candidate Etch A Sketch ever resorted to that kind of thing?

If you answered, "Always," you were right.

And as that Moment of Righteous Dean Indignation was taking place on the Tee Vee Machine, this came to my attention from Bloomberg. Timing is everything:

The father of Christopher Stevens, the U.S. ambassador to Libya who was killed in the attack in Benghazi last month, said his son’s death shouldn’t be politicized in the presidential campaign.

It would really be abhorrent to make this into a campaign issue,” Jan Stevens, 77, said in a telephone interview from his home in Loomis, California, as he prepares for a memorial service for his son next week. [...]

The ambassador’s father, a lawyer, said politicians should await the findings of a formal investigation before making accusations or judgments.

The security matters are being adequately investigated,” Stevens said. “We don’t pretend to be experts in security. It has to be objectively examined. That’s where it belongs. It does not belong in the campaign arena.” Stevens said he has been getting briefings from the State Department on the progress of the investigation.

Mitt Romney, you have an embarrassing history of jumping the gun. You and your surrogates would be wise to shut your pie holes until you have the whole story, not just the one that serves your purpose.


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Citizens United problems also stem from a U.S. Court of Appeals case


The Supreme Court could tell us this month on why they were right about Citizens United, the case that has changed this country for the worse, as the Wisconsin recall election made very clear, and as those in November are shaping up to do the same. Or they could hear the case in the fall and decide whether or not they screwed up.

Unlimited use of private wealth to influence election outcomes is giving a handful of political billionaire sugar daddies more clout than the candidates themselves.

An article in today's L.A. Times drives the point home while it illuminates. For example, all that money that's been given to campaigns isn't as corporate as you'd think. An entirely different case was decided by a U.S. Court of Appeals after the Citizens United ruling that affects super PAC campaign ads, not necessarily corporate ones.

The rise of "super PACs," which may raise and spend unlimited amounts so long as they do so independently of a candidate, has allowed close aides to candidates to set up supposedly independent committees that have raised huge amounts, primarily from wealthy individuals. The PACs have spent most of their money on negative ads attacking the opposition. That unlimited fundraising was set in motion by Citizens United, but came to full flower after the subsequent Court of Appeals decision.

So, as the L.A. Times reports, we have a two-track campaign funding system: "One features small donors and strict regulation; the other exists for the very wealthy, who are largely freed from regulation." A twofer!

And SCOTUS decided that the 1st Amendment protects independent spending on campaigns and that "more public speech and debate on politics is a plus, not a minus."

And by public speech and debate they mean secret money.

As I mentioned earlier, the problem is that control went from candidates and political parties to outside groups.

The U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, citing the 5-4 opinion, reasoned that since the 1st Amendment guaranteed the right to unrestricted "independent" spending on politics, PACs should have the right to collect unlimited sums, so long as they too were independent. [...]

A person who wants to contribute to the campaigns of President Obama or Mitt Romney, his Republican challenger, may give no more than $5,000 this election cycle. But those who have a million dollars to spend can send their money to a super PAC supporting Obama or Romney.

Super PACs have to disclose their donors, but those who prefer secrecy can use not-for-profit groups and trade associations that don't disclose theirs.

The Supreme Court is being asked to hear a case to address some of this mess, in which the Montana Supreme Court refused to strike down its state ban on election spending by corporations. But you can bet that the wealthy will win, because their guys on the highest court in the land attend and/or headline fundraisers hosted by conservative groups filled to the brim with corporate donors.


"In light of Bin Laden's elimination, Romney's and Bush's statements hurt Republicans' chances this November."



Today's L.A. Times letters to the editor, because our voices matter:

Re "A year later, raid on Bin Laden becomes campaign fodder," May 1

In 2007, Mitt Romney said he wouldn't spend billions of dollars tracking down one man. During his second term as president,George W. Bush said he didn't know where Osama bin Laden was and didn't spend much time thinking about it.

By the time Barack Obama was elected president, the trail to Bin Laden had long gone cold. In 2009, his first order to Leon Panetta, then his new CIA director, was to make the killing or capture of Bin Laden the top priority in the war against Al Qaeda.

In light of Bin Laden's elimination, Romney's and Bush's statements hurt Republicans' chances this November.

The Republicans are trying to pull another "Swift boat" attack by saying that Obama's success should not be used in the campaign. This tactic of trying to do to Obama what they did to John Kerry in 2004 will only work if voters can be fooled a second time. As the saying goes: "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me." I can only hope that we of the middle class won't be Swift-boated again.

If the millions of dollars the Republican "super PACs" are going to throw into this election succeed in fooling us, then shame on us.

Leon M. Salter

Los Angeles


It is easy for Romney to say, in light of the mission's success, that he would have gone after Bin Laden just as Obama did. He ignores the fact that it was an extremely difficult call, with so many ways for the mission to fail.

There were some, including Vice President Joe Biden, who advised against it. Moreover, the consequences to President Carter of the disastrous attempt in 1980 to rescue the hostages in Iran had to be in Obama's mind as he struggled with the decision to order the mission.

I suggest to Romney that, until he has stood in Obama's shoes, he has no idea what he would have chosen to do.

Michael Horstein

Los Angeles


Every time Obama ties his shoes, the Republicans paint him as weak-kneed. He's the "appeaser in chief" who pals around with terrorists, for example. It's gone on for more than three years now, and Obama has ignored it.

But the right never stops, and low-information voters listen. I find it refreshing that my president is standing up and pushing back.

Obama has competently evaluated the problems facing him as president and acted. He has been successful, and there is no reason why he shouldn't stand up and remind Americans of his achievements every day.

Hardy Hayes



Shame on Obama for politicizing Bin Laden's death. Surely Republicans would never attempt to make political hay out of issues important to Americans.

Dan Wyman